July 28, 2016

Another world is possible

By Kara Carmosino
Director of Programs and Strategy

“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.” — Arundhati Roy

Since July 2015, APANO’s staff, Board, members and stakeholders have been hard at work creating a Strategic Plan that will guide the organization’s continued growth and forward momentum through the next five years. We proudly released a summary of this Strategic Plan this month and will continue to have discussions on how it will shape the direction of our work for years to come. In addition to setting concrete goals and milestones in strategic focus areas, a key part of the plan was the establishment of a new set of values for the organization.

Going into this process, a major question APANO’s Board and staff raised was simply, “Who are we?” As the only statewide pan-API advocacy organization in Oregon, APANO is called on to represent diverse communities, sit at a range of tables and be many things to many people. In this context, we knew we needed to more clearly define APANO’s work and political direction, both to manage what was possible given our size and to be clear about what success would mean to us. While we deeply value short-term campaigns and wins as crucial to our communities’ abilities to live and thrive, we also want to situate those struggles within a longer-term vision. We saw a growing need to sharpen our shared understanding of APANO’s politics and capacity to imagine the alternative world we are working towards.

In particular, in work with one of our LERC consultants on the Strategic Plan, Dan HoSang, we identified that conceptual values like “health equity” and “racial justice,” while crucial, are not always specific enough to truly provide direction and alignment for the organization, as those ideas may mean very different things to different people depending on their context. Rather, we needed to spell out a clear vision of where we see our work heading.

Building on existing work and analysis, the values we created, discussed, debated and finally adopted are:

APANO is working towards a just world where:

  1. All our families have the rights, recognition and resources they need to thrive, and their life outcomes are not tied to identity or social determinants of health.
  2. Everyone has the social, economic and political power and resources to make healthy decisions for themselves about their bodies, genders, sexualities and families, in all areas of their lives, without fear of discrimination, exclusion or harm. This includes the ability to have children, not have children, and/or parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments.
  3. The health, well-being and survival of our communities and the natural world are understood as more important than individual profit, and supported through equitable distribution of wealth and resources.
  4. Institutions are built around the inherent worth and dignity of all people and are designed and function as systems of care and support, not systems of criminalization and control.
  5. Communities have the skills, capacity and resources to organize themselves for change, collectively self-determine their needs and solutions, and control their own destinies.
  6. We act in solidarity with communities who experience oppression and recognize that our liberation is directly linked to theirs.

These values were created to more clearly illustrate APANO’s analyses, beliefs and direction, and we are excited to hear from you about what they mean to you and how they might reflect your own vision of what is possible if we come together, organize and fight to win. We hope you will join us at an upcoming workshop, event or engagement opportunity and continue the discussion on the world we are all working towards.

APANO will be hosting summer engagement sessions in east Multnomah County, Beaverton, Salem and Eugene throughout July and August to talk with members about the Strategic Plan, our civic engagement work and upcoming 2017 policy priorities. Please join us at:

  • Wednesday, Aug 17 - Eugene - Eugene Public Library, Singer Room (100 W 10th Ave, Eugene, OR 97401)
    Registration Link: http://bit.ly/APANO16Eugene
  • Thursday, Aug 25 - Salem - AFSCME Union Hall (1400 Tandem Ave NE, Salem OR 97301)
    Registration Link: http://bit.ly/APANO16Salem
  • Wednesday, Aug 31 - Beaverton - Unite Oregon Office (12625 SW Broadway, Suite 200, Beaverton OR 97005)
    Registration Link: http://bit.ly/APANO16Beaverton